Tag: UEFA Champions League

Taremi determined to power Iran to 2026 Finals

Taremi determined to power IR Iran to 2026 Finals
www.the-afc.com – AFC ASIAN QUALIFIERSTUE, 25 JUNE, 2024

Kuala Lumpur: The pain of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s semi-final exit at the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ still stings for Mehdi Taremi but, as the striker tells the-AFC.com, he is choosing to look towards the future; to his impending move to Serie A giants Inter Milan and to what he hopes will be another FIFA World Cup Finals appearance.

No nation knows semi-final heartbreak at the AFC Asian Cup quite like IR Iran; on seven occasions since 1976 – the most recent of the country’s three consecutive continental titles – Team Melli have fallen one hurdle before the tournament’s deciding match.

The latest loss remains fresh in the mind of Mehdi Taremi, the talismanic striker whose goals in recent years have been one of the drivers of his country’s qualification for the last two FIFA World Cup Finals, but who continue to fall short of a fourth AFC Asian Cup.

The 3-2 defeat to hosts Qatar – the defending champions who would go on to retain the title – in February hurt so much that Taremi has refused to watch reruns of the game and shies away from discussing the defeat.

#AsianCup2023 | Semi-final : Islamic Republic Of Iran 2 - 3 Qatar

“After the Qatar game, I never saw the game and I haven’t talked until now about that game,” he tells the-AFC.com. “I don’t want to look back and think about the past.

“We’re always thinking about what is in front of us. We’re looking forward to the next step and who we are going to play against.

“It’s still painful. I think we deserved to win the Asian Cup. We created a lot of chances there, we missed a lot of chances but that’s football.”

Missing scoring opportunities is not a characteristic often associated with Taremi. The 31-year-old hit a hat-trick against Hong Kong, China earlier this month to record his 48th goal in 804 matches as he continued his long-standing run of form for Iran.

It is his ability in front of goal that has seen Taremi establish himself among the leading scorers in European club football since his move to Portugal to join Rio Ave from Al Gharafa in Qatar before a subsequent move to Porto, where he has spent the last four seasons.

Taremi’s time on the Iberian peninsula, however, has come to an end with the expiration of his contract with the Estadio de Dragao-based club, and a new adventure in Italy with Inter Milan awaits.

“That five years, it has created this Mehdi,” he says of his time in Portugal, where he scored 112 times in 217 games in all competitions.

“I have become a more experienced guy, I have become a more professional guy and all of those people who have helped me there I appreciate all of those guys, the staff the players at Rio Ave club and at Porto as well. They have created this Mehdi.

“When you play in Asia and in Europe it’s completely different. There you have to be more professional, otherwise you cannot play at a high level.

“In Asia you have to too, but how they play there is faster and quicker and the games are at a higher level. When you play in the UEFA Champions League you have to be ready, you have to play against big players, big teams and that has made me different.”

Taremi’s ability in front of goal led to significant speculation over his next destination and, while the rumour mill generated talk of numerous possibilities, it was the newly crowned Italian champions who won the battle for his signature.

It is a move the Bushehr-born forward is relishing as it presents him with another opportunity to feature once more in the UEFA Champions League.

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“Inter has a strong team and from what I’ve seen on the TV the players are friendly, the team are strong and they are compact, together,” he says.

“I think there is a good feeling there between the players and the coaches. Inter is a big club and because of that I chose Inter. I want to play in Italy, I want to show myself there too.

“Since I was seven, eight years old I saw a lot of games in Italy, Spain, England, everywhere. When you watch the games you’re a supporter of the big clubs and Inter is one of those. I remember many things of Inter in the UEFA Champions League, in the league and the history of Inter and that makes me happy to go there. It convinced me to go there.

“My goal is to help the team as I can. I’ll try to do my job, scoring and assists. So let’s see what’s going to happen.”

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While Taremi will be adjusting to his new surroundings at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza – better known around the world as San Siro – he will also be attempting to ensure Iran qualify for another FIFA World Cup finals.

Having failed to score in his first FIFA World Cup appearance in Russia in 2018, Taremi was twice on target at Qatar 2022 against England and his aim is to improve on that tally in the Canada, Mexico and United States edition in 2026.

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“I always try to think about football and about my future,” he says. “I put a lot of effort each day into my job.

“The main goal is, first of all we have to go to the World Cup, and then my main goal is I have to try my best to score more than two goals at the next World Cup. So let’s see.”

Sardar Azmoun’s Future: Roma and Bayer Leverkusen Clash

Sardar Azmoun, Team Melli striker, made a significant move at the beginning of the season by leaving Bayer Leverkusen on a one-season loan contract to continue his football journey in Italy’s Serie A.

Roma secured a one-season contract with Sardar Azmoun, but the situation is far from settled. The Iranian player’s fate hinges on whether the permanent purchase clause will be activated by Roma. If not, he will return to Bayer Leverkusen. Recent meetings between the clubs’ managers have shed light on the financial aspects of this transfer. However, due to Bayer Leverkusen’s high asking price (12.5 million euros) for Azmoun’s departure, Roma’s leadership hesitates to commit to a permanent deal. According to the Italian website “ilromanista,” Sardar Azmoun is likely to part ways with Roma at the end of the season.

Europa League Showdown

The drama continues on the field as Roma and Bayer Leverkusen prepare for the second leg of the Europa League semi-finals. The match is scheduled for Thursday evening, May 9th, at the Bay Arena. In the first leg, held at the “Olympic” Stadium, Bayer Leverkusen secured a convincing 2-0 victory over their hosts.

Roma’s Challenges and Ambitions

Despite the setback in the first leg, Roma remains determined. Manager Daniele Del Rossi’s focus is unwavering as the team aims to overturn the result in Germany. Remy, one of Roma’s key players, regrets missed opportunities from the previous match against Bayer Leverkusen.

As the season unfolds, Roma faces uncertainties regarding their European Champions League qualification. Their performance in Serie A will ultimately determine their fate. Will they secure a spot in the prestigious tournament, or will they face disappointment? Only time will reveal the answer.

As far as Azmoun is concerned, it seems much better for him to return to Germany as a title holder of the Bundesliga while assured of playing in the UEFA Champions League. While his sterling performances at Zenit St. Petersburg and prolific scoring were not repeated with Leverkusen, he was still considered a main player until his long-term layoff due to injury losing his starting place and eventual loan to Jose Mourinho’s Roma.

Team Melli players in European Club competitions

The European Clubs championships will start in earnest this evening with matches in the UEFA Champions League UCL on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by the Europa League which is traditionally played on Thursdays.

6 Team Melli players will be involved in the European club competitions this season. Mehdi Taremi, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Sadegh Moharrami, Sardar Azamoun, Ehsan Hajsafi and Milad Mohammadi. We will look at the individual players’ performances in the early season, their effectiveness for their clubs, chances of playing, and chances of their club qualification to the next round. The three competitions they are involved in are the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League.

Mehdi Taremi (FC Porto): presently he is without a doubt the most prominent amongst the Team Melli legionnaires possessing the highest value for his club. Being a key player with Porto and a title defender, there are a lot of expectations from Taremi. Despite some off-the-field distractions, that might have affected him, he returned back to what he does best by scoring the winning goal away to Estrela da Amadora last weekend. This season, Taremi started 4 out of 5 club matches.

FC Porto is in Group H which has the mighty Barcelona as the favorite, but also the Ukrainian team Shakhtar Donetsk and Belgian Royal Antwerp. It is a tough group but Porto remains in contention for one of the two qualifying places.

Playing Status: Starter
Effectiveness: 8.5 out of 10
Chances of qualifying: 70%

Alireza Jahanbaksh (Feyenoord): The Team Melli Captain is not experiencing the best of times. His form has dipped considerably and he is now glued to the bench in the Eredivisie with Feyenoord. He played in two out of 5 league matches with only one starting and one as a substitute. Jahanbaksh neither scored nor provided any assists this season.

Feyenoord is in Group E of the UEFA Champions League along with favorites Atletico Madrid, Celtic, and Lazio, It is an even group but hardly an easy pass for Feyenoord, which will start with a match against the Scottish Champions Celtic on Tuesday 19th September.

Playing Status: Substitute
Effectiveness: 3.5 out of 10
Chances of qualifying: 68%

Sadegh Moharrami (Dinamo Zagreb): The Team Melli right-back has been having a good season with the Croatian champions. His rating has been amongst the best and also provided one assist in the 5 matches he has already played for the club.

In the Europa Conference League, Dinamo Zagreb is in Group C along with; Balkani (Kosovo), FC Astana (Kazakhstan), and Viktoria Plzen (Czechia). The former is the closest rival to Dinamo Zagreb. The first match is on Thursday 21st September.

Playing Status: Starter
Effectiveness: 7.5 out of 10
Chances of qualifying: 80%

Sardar Azmoun (Roma): After a shaky season with Bayer Leverkusen marred by long-term injuries, Azmoun is now on loan with AS Roma coached by Mourinho. Team Melli striker will not enjoy the UEFA Champions League this term as Roma is playing in the Europa League. Azmoun made his debut last Sunday as a late substitute for Romelo Lukaku in a 7-0 thrashing of bottom Club Empoli

Azmoun had a slow season start so far in Rome mainly due to injuries he carried from Leverkusen plus some personal issues. AS Roma is in Group G with FC Sheriff, Servette, and Slavia Prague and will begin the campaign with the Modovan Champions FC Sheriff on Thursday 21st September.

Playing Status: Substitute
Effectiveness: 4.5 out of 10
Chances of qualifying: 75%

Ehsan Hajsafi (AEK Athens): Team Melli Captain and most capped player has had a mixed season with the club. He has started 1 out of 3 league matches although he was also a starter in the UCL Qualifiers which AEK Athens lost narrowly to Antwerp.

AEK Athens is in a strong group that includes, The Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion, Ajax Amsterdam, and Marseille. It is arguably the strongest group in the Conference League and the Greek club needs to be at its best to have a chance of qualifying. The mission starts on Thursday with a match away to Brighton.

Playing Status: Substitute
Effectiveness: 6 out of 10
Chances of qualifying: 35%

Milad Mohammadi (AEK Athens): started 2 of the 3 matches in the Greek league and played the full 90 minutes each time as a left-back. He seems to be growing in confidence this season after a mixed season in 2022/2023.

Playing Status: Starter
Effectiveness: 6.5 out of 10
Chances of qualifying: 35%

Taremi shines again and leads Porto to top the group

FC Porto and Team Melli striker, Mehdi Taremi, once again made the headlines as the Portuguese club defeated Atletico Madrid 2-1 in the last game of Group B of the UEFA Champions League.

Porto went ahead in the fifth minute when forward Taremi tapped in a cross from Evanilson, registering his fifth goal in the Champions League this season. Porto had already qualified for the last 16 but leapfrogged Club Brugge to finish as group winners with 12 points, one point ahead of the Belgians who also went through.

Taremi, for the second match in a row, managed to finish as the MVP of the difficult encounter against the powerful Diego Simeone players. Atletico Madrid failed to qualify from the group.

The five goals that Mehdi Taremi has scored so far is the highest number that has been achieved by any Iranian player in the history of the UEFA Champions League. The Iranian player from the Persian Gulf port city of Bushehr thus ensured that his name will be in the record books for many years to come. With 5 goals scored in five games, Taremi is on par with Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski in the list of top scorers of the UCL this season. Mohammed Salah (Liverpool) with 7 goals leads the table followed by Kylian Mbappe (PSG). Taremi finds himself amongst the elite of European elites to the delight of the Iranian fans.

Grand performance by Mehdi Taremi in UCL.

Team Melli’s central striker Mehdi Taremi accomplished a grand Man-Of-the-Match performance for his team, FC Porto, against the group leaders Club Brugge by leading them to a 4-0 win away.

In the 33rd minute, Taremi opened the scoring with an immaculate snooker-type shot into the former Liverpool keeper Mignolet. The 30-year-old forward also closed the match with his second and Porto’s fourth in the 70th minute.

Meanwhile, Taremi also provided a slick pass to assist Eustaquio for the third goal in minute 60.

Taremi could have easily scored a hat trick, but his effort earlier in the first half was shot high off the mark while he was on-to-one against Mignolet.

Sergio Conceicao’s FC Porto is second in the table and would qualify early if Atletico Madrid fails to beat Bayer Leverkusen, missing Azmoun, in the later match.

With a rating of 9.1 and a man-of-the-match performance, Taremi has primed at the right time for the World Cup in less than a month.

Taremi on the move as Arsenal ‘committed’ to winter move for Porto man.

Arsenal are preparing to make a bid for FC Porto and Team Melli striker Mehdi Taremi, according to Portuguese newspaper A Bola.

After a season of Mikel Arteta choosing between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, and Eddie Nketiah, the Spaniard now has Gabriel Jesus leading the line.

The Brazilian’s Gunners career has got off to a tremendous start, while Nketiah plays second fiddle in the Premier League. Nketiah is expected to get the nod in the Europa League and Carabao Cup, however.

The young Englishman was actually expected to depart Arsenal in the summer with his contract expiring, but he had a change of heart and decided to commit his future to his boyhood club. He was given the famous No. 14 shirt and always knew that Arteta was on the search for a new striker who would likely be his first choice.

 Nketiah doesn’t see it as him versus Jesus and knows there will be a lot of “opportunities” to play this season. “He’s (Jesus) a great player,” Nketiah said. “He’s good to play alongside and watch. He’s had a really good start and he’s a great guy off the pitch so I’m really happy for him.

You would not expect Arteta to delve into the transfer market in January to sign a new striker, barring an injury crisis.

However, it has been reported that the Gunners are keen on Porto’s Mehdi Taremi.

The Iranian has started 2022/23 very well, netting seven and assisting a further six in 11 appearances across all competitions. He is yet to get off the mark in the Champions League this term after being sent off against Atletico Madrid on matchday one.

The 30-year-old did assist both of his side’s goals against Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday night, though. It is according to Portuguese newspaper A Bola (via Sport Witness) that Arsenal are ‘committed’ to signing Taremi in the January transfer window. It is said that English clubs were keen on signing the experienced striker in the summer.

Taremi’s representatives are keen for their client to move on after he plays in the World Cup for Iran. Porto are ‘willing to negotiate and are hoping for a similar transaction to last year when they sold Luis Diaz to Liverpool.

Chelsea are also given a mention by the newspaper.

The football battle of Azmoun and Taremi in UEFA Champions League.

04. Oct.2022

The much-anticipated clash between the two forwards of Team Melli in the UEFA Champions League ended as a one-sided affair in favor of Mehdi Taremi.

Sardar Azmoun simply did not turn up!

Mehdi Taremi played for 90 minutes in Stadio Dragao for FC Porto against Azmoun’s Bayer Leverkusen on Day 3 of the UCL, while Azmoun was an unused substitute. Taremi continued his splendid form and continued where he left off against Braga in the league where he provided 3 assists in a 4-1 win for Porto.

Against Leverkusen, he provided both the assists for his team’s goals and was denied by VAR for a splendid goal in the second half. There was nothing wrong with the goal with a counter-attacking move started by Taremi and finished by him. which came from a quick counter-attack as Porto’s keeper cleverly found Taremi. The Team Melli forward ran at least 30 yards before passing to his winger and receiving it back via another Porto player. Taremi scored past Hradecky inside the six-yard box with a lunging finish. The English referee Anthony Taylor disallowed the goal as a handball was committed in Porto’s box by a defender before reaching the ball to Diogo Costa in Porto’s goal.

in the 69th minute, Taremi receives the ball out wide from Galeno, lifts his head, and sends an inch-perfect cross to Zaidu at the far post. The Porto defender uses his pace in the cross to score 1-0 Porto.

Minute 86 Taremi drives with the ball in the box for a few yards before sliding Galeno through for a brilliant goal-scoring chance. The Porto winger did not have even to take a touch to settle himself before shooting due to the accuracy and perfect pace of the pass. 2-0 for Port and that was the end result. MEDI TAREMI with two clinical assists.

Taremi has been involved in four goals in his last five UEFA Champions League appearances at the Stadio Dragao (two goals and two assists), including assisting the winner for FC Porto’s last home win in UCL against AC Milan in Oct 2021.
Taremi was absent from his side’s 4-0 drubbing at home to Club Brugge last time out through suspension,

As for Azmoun, the face-to-face with Taremi did not materialize as he has been a peripheral player under coach Gerardo Seoane who much prefers Schick up front.

This one battle was settled for Taremi. The next round is the reverse fixture where Leverkusen will host Porto on Wednesday 12th Oct. Barring exceptional circumstances like injury, Taremi will be a starter for FC Porto. Now that the Czech forward Patrik Schich is suspended for that fixture, Azmoun might have shot in starting.

We shall see.


Taremi wins best Champions League Goal Award.

Porto striker Mehdi Taremi has won the UEFA Goal of the Season award for his stunning bicycle kick against Chelsea.

Taremi scooped the prize as a reward for scoring Porto’s last-gasp winner in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie with Chelsea on April 13.

The Portuguese outfit ultimately exited the competition 2-1 on aggregate to the eventual winners, but their talismanic frontman has secured a place in European football history after receiving 30 percent of the final vote for the best goal of 2020-21.

Taremi’s wonder strike

There did not appear to be a lot on when Porto substitute Nanu raced down the right-wing in stoppage time at Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium, but he managed to produce a perfectly weighted cross that found its way to Taremi with his back to goal.

The Iran international could have tried to bring the ball down before letting fly, but instead trusted his goalscoring instincts to unleash a sensational first time overhead kick, which flew into the top corner and left Blues goalkeeper Edouard Mendy rooted to the spot.

Who did Taremi beat to the award?

60,000 votes were cast for the UEFA prize in total, with Italy talisman Lorenzo Insigne coming in second for his superb individual goal against Belgium in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals, which ultimately gave the Azzurri a 2-1 victory before they went on secure the trophy with wins against Spain and England.

Rangers star Kemar Roofe has completed the top three, having been recognized for the spectacular long-range effort he produced in a Europa League group stage clash with Standard Liege.

Taremi’s overall record for Porto

Taremi joined Porto from Rio Ave last August and quickly established himself as the focal point in Sergio Conceicao’s set-up at Estadio do Dragao.

The 29-year-old scored 23 goals in his debut season with the Primeira Liga club, including his wonder goal against Chelsea, while also recording 18 assists.

Taremi scores sensational bicycle kick against Chelsea

Sérgio Conceição’s side had lost 2-0 to Chelsea last week at Seville’s Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium.

Taremi played in the last 30 minutes but in that half an hour he created magic that will be talked about for a long time.  His bicycle kick just inside the box went to the roof of the goal leaving Chlsea’s keeper Mendy motionless.

Taremi became the first Iranian player to score a goal in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. With such a goal, it is quite likely that he will be nominated for Puskas Trophy for the year’s best goal. That would be a dream achievement for the Iraninan football.

Unfortunately, Taremi can easily be his worst enemy due to weak self-control and poor mental toughness. Taremi missed the the first leg against Chelsea because he was sent off in the previous round against Juventus for what looked like one of the most stupid send offs in the history of the Championship league. The term childish and stupid was repeated by all pundits commenting on this act that seriously lacked professionalism. He was suspended for the next crucial match against Chlesa. Porto, without Taremi, lost 2-0 in the home leg.

In the return leg and after that wonder goal, Taremi was back to his worst behaviour and could not keep his mouth shut, getting a late yellow card for dissent after he protested a referee call.


Sardar Azmoun Named Top Goal Scorer of Russian Football League

For the second time in history, an Iranian player wins the League Top Scorer in Europe

Sardar Azmoun,  Team Melli and Zenit Saint Petersburg center forward, has finished the 2019/20 season at the Russian Premier League as the top goal scorer after scoring the winner against FC Rostov in the season’s last fixture. Match ended 2-1 for the champion.

Both Azmoun and teammate Artem Dzyuba played 28 games, with both forwards scoring 17 goals, but the Iranian was ahead of the Russian striker by virtue of fewer goals from the penalty spot. Azmoun scored one penalty, whereas Dzyuba scored seven.

In the history of the RPL, Azmoun is the third Zenit player to finish a season as top scorer.
Much was expected of Azmoun when he was snapped up by Rubin Kazan as an 18-year-old, and he has grown to become a superstar of Asian football.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh finished the 2017-18  Dutch Eredivise as the top scorer with 21 goals. Jahanbakhsh becomes the first Asian ever to finish as the highest-scoring player in an Eredivisie campaign.

Now Azmoun is repeating a similar feat by becoming the first Asian player to win the top scorer title in Russia, and the second Iranian player to achieve this honor in a European league.

Azmoun is both the youngest Iranian to score in a Champions League game, as well as the Iranian record-holder for the most goals scored in UEFA Champions League games, having scored 4 goals in the two seasons he has taken part in the tournament. Azmoun has a great chance to add to his tally as Zenit has qualified for next season UEFA Champions League.

Azmoun is now linked to several top European football teams, from AC Milan, Napoli, and Lazio in Italy to Arsenal and West Ham in England. It is reported that Azmoun’s agent has already met this week with Napoli owner discussing players transfers.